Going on vacation can have us leaving our troubles behind. Unfortunately, sometimes that’s just the problem. While those troubles may disappear from our minds as we step onto an airplane or arrive to our destination, they could be quite real while we are away. From a leaky toilet or busted pipe to an exploding water heater, oven left on, or thief burglarizing our home, there are all kinds of things that could go wrong while away on vacation. However, with a little low-cost preparation before leaving, peace of mind can travel with us on our adventures.
Home risk analysis
Once you’ve lived in your home for a year or even just a few months, you probably have a pretty good idea of the various risks that go along with living in it and in the general area and are able to assign levels of weight to these various risks.
I still remember taking a criminal justice class in college in which we focused on personal security. Part of this class involved a project in which we did a risk analysis on our homes. Some of the things we included in the analysis were:
- Area crime rates
- Proximity of the home to things like hospitals, fire and police stations, and even fire hydrants
- Number of entrances to the home and number of windows as well as locations
- Security systems
- Type of home (single-family, multi-family, apartment, condominium)
- Age of home
- Location of home (urban, suburban, rural, college town, etc.)
- Number of occupants
I found the exercise not only valuable when evaluating our home for potential threats before leaving on vacation but to use when looking to buy a prospective home as well.
Taking necessary precautions
Once we’ve evaluated potential issues within or outside a home, it’s time to look for fixes to those issues. Sometimes it’s the quite simple and very affordable precautions we can take that can have the greatest impact. Some of these may include:
- Not announcing to the world that we’re leaving and definitely not putting it on any social media sites
- Not posting pictures of our vacation destination on social media while we’re away
- Leaving keys with only the most trusted of individuals in the event of an emergency
- Not making an event of loading up the family vehicle with luggage (a dead giveaway you might be leaving for an extended time)
- Having updated contact information (including an emergency contact should we not be able to be reached) on file with those checking on a home or in our case since we live in a condo, the property management company
- Unplugging all unnecessary electronic devices
- Shutting off certain water lines
- Stopping mail service
- Setting security lights to timers
If something goes wrong while we’re away, it could go wrong for a long time. A pinhole leak in a pipe might only produce a couple gallons of water per hour, but if we’re gone for hundreds of hours, it can add up to quite a flood. Robbers or hoodlums might only be able to take or destroy so much during one visit, but if they know we aren’t coming back for two weeks, they can make multiple trips. And one day without air conditioning during mid-summer might not hurt too much, but multiple weeks could have mold and mildew taking hold before we get home.
This is why, from building property (since we living in a condominium) and personal property to personal liability insurance, we make sure that our coverage levels are beefed up to cover a variety of possible scenarios while we’re away. With adequate insurance before we leave, even with all our preparations, we have some peace of mind that if something should happen while we’re gone, we won’t unduly suffer financially.
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The author is not a licensed financial, home security or insurance professional. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any kind. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.